Bruce Springsteen may be the mythic New Jersey hero, but the true soul of the Garden State is manifested in Bon Jovi. Hear me out. At first blush, in the mid-1980s, with their shopping mall mullets and suburban rock dude drag, they were far more everyman than the proletariat of the Boss' poetry. And though there's an artistic distance between "Born to Run" and "Livin' on a Prayer," spiritually the songs are blood brothers. By sprinkling sugar on their power chords and delivering choruses so hooky they could land a whale, Bon Jovi outlasted their hair band brethren by scoring hits that are hard to resist. So keep the cell phone pocketed and thrust that Bic into the air for "You Give Love a Bad Name," "I'll Be There for You" and "Wanted Dead or Alive." And don't feel guilty for the pleasure.
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